European Journal of Social Psychology vol:42 issue:6 pages:763-769
Previous research has suggested that self-regulation results in low-level construals, but has inferred construal levels after self-regulation only indirectly, through construal-dependent judgments and choices. In the present paper we demonstrate a direct link between engaging in self-regulation and low-level construals, by manipulating self-regulation and subsequently assessing construal levels using well-established and straightforward measures of construal level in three studies. Participants who engaged in self-regulation subsequently provided lower egocentric spatial distance estimates (Studies 1A and 1B), formed more groups when categorizing objects (Study 2), and used more concrete language when describing cartoon main characters’ behavior (Study 3) than participants who did not engage in self-regulation. These findings provide direct evidence that low-level construals result from engaging in self-regulation.